Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fall winds and Fall Tasks

Today I was going to post about pumpkins but after hanging the first load of laundry on the line I decided a post about the years laundry without a dryer and Ralph's' continual battle with crazy weeds would be better.

I posted about the clothesline last fall. In fact it was posted on the 5th of October. I fell in love with the clothesline when we saw the place. It is so well built. I tend to do laundry about every 10 days. The simple system I set up when I started has worked well. I did however have a happy accident with a way to keep the poultry out of the Utility building when I wash. I made two panels for dividers too use to keep hens with chicks separate. They did not work for that, too big and awkward. [I used to work  cattle and Ralph says I still build strong enough to hold bulls!] However.......they are perfect to put under the garage door with a space for the washing machine hoses to be outside and the water to be hooked up. We also used them to allow airflow in the building during the worst heat of summer.

As I hung out the first load of wash today I have to admit I felt good about it. The bright fall sun is warm and the air is dry and fresh but best of all there is a brisk fall breeze blowing. Perfect for drying clothes without a dryer sheet or fabric softener. These clothes will smell sunshine fresh because they were actually dried in the sun and fresh country air.

I have had wonderful results for the most part. A few adventures come to mind though.

#1 When the turkeys were quite young and learning to fly, anything they could perch on was fair game. The clothesline cable is small though and to see them trying to balance on the line made us get stitches in our sides from laughing so hard. I did not laugh quite so much when they did this with clothes on the line!

#2 The fall migration of Asian beetles was horrible and its soon going to happen again. I learned to make sure I shook all the clothes out before I put them in the hampers to bring in the house. Those horrid things love any small pleat or fold and bite if you happen to disturb them.

#3 Sudden rain showers. This occurrence only caught me with clothes out twice but when it rains two inches, on nearly dry laundry you need to run it though the spin cycle to start the drying again.

#4 Having the cable break just as you hang the last towel on the line and it is totally full! The cables were not new and when it was built they ran them through one eye-bolt to the next eye-bolt then back to the other post. This saved on tighteners but made kinks where moisture could collect and the plastic cover of the cable wore through. So it simply rusted, became weak and snapped at the worst possible moment. It is now repaired. Each of the four lines is separate with its own tightener and cable protector. Here is a good design, very similar to this clothesline. They use cord but I recommend plastic covered cable.

So I am writing this post as the last load of wash is soaking, I can hear all sorts of happy poultry noises from the open door. The breeze is working the wind chimes and in the background is the noise of the Grillo with the flail mower on it, Ralph at the helm, hacking down the undergrowth.

The "Horde" enjoying pecking through some fresh chopped weeds.

We got behind the weed growth. First of all we really had no idea how this climate can grow things. Secondly we had warranty issues with the Grillo. It's clutch was a new version, quicker to use. We discovered it might be faster but it is not heavy duty enough for the combination of heavy brush mowing and the power and vibration of the Koehler Diesel. Ralph took it back to Earthtool three times, each time it broke the weather was perfect for farm work. We would get it fixed and be ready to go and it would rain. Earthtool has been wonderful to deal with. They finally solved the problem when they decided to replace the new model clutch with an old style and much heavier clutch. We have not had any problems since. This was a problem caused by innovation to make these two wheel tractors easier for small gardens and estate work. It is not feasible for what we do with ours.

 Part of the freshly cut sheep paddock, the poultry was going crazy in the short fresh cut grass. Lots of bugs were disturbed. They scratched a lot of the ground and it was good to see the old tilth Ralph had flail mowed earlier this year was working into a great mulch layer.

You can see the height of the weeds to the right behind the gate. Also to the left side of the photo. I had managed to keep this area in the middle, short for the summer.

Ralph heading into some heavy going with the Flail Mower and Grillo. This is just above the apple trees. The flail mower chops this huge, heavy stemmed weed growth into a 3 to 4 inch fine chop. It breaks up quickly after it is cut and we like what it is doing for the soil.

So that is how we are spending our day today. Laundry and weed control. There are a few other things in the works, like Green Tomato Jam and dehydrating a squash. I always seem to have dishes to do and I have to think of something for supper.

Life is busy and full and we like it that way. And tonight....we sleep on sun dried sheets that smell divine! Gods fabric freshener, a marvel not enough people get to enjoy!

God Bless you and be safe.


  1. I love the smell of line dried clothes!

    1. It is a delight. I was worried to head into the year with plans not to have a clothes dryer. Now the year has gone by I find it a non-issue. [There are only two of us though]

  2. That's frustrating about the Grillo. Weeds aren't something to have get out of hand, I know 'cuz we live with a similar situation!

    Fantastic clothesline! I'm making do with one of those "umbrella" types, but I have a pulley clothesline from Lehmans still in the box and waiting on getting the barn done. I envision being able to hang and take down laundry from the comfort of my back porch!

    I like your screens too. I could use something like that to keep chickens out of the hay.

    1. Ah...your future clothesline sounds wonderful. I know my chicken panel idea has good points and they work really well for the utility room but they did not work as planned. I had panels like that on a big scale for my cattle, portable and they hinged together. I am going to make some for the sheep fold here, with cattle panels cut into 8 foot sections. I am glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post.

  3. I love hanging clothes on a line:)

  4. I will NEVER forget how good the clothes smelled when my Mom hung them outside.

    In the winter she'd use the dryer in the basement, but we knew for sure that summer was 'just around the corner' when Mom started hanging the clothes outside...

    1. The Amish had a drying rack behind the wood stove in this house but last winter was nice enough I could still hang clothes outside. I remember my mother bringing in frozen long johns in winter!😁